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The media love to call it “Oslo’s trendiest district” while the locals simply love to call it Løkka; either way, Grünerløkka is the embodiment of every hipster’s dreams this side of Brooklyn. From art schools, galleries, and museums to vintage clothing and furniture, and from fusion foods and microbreweries to craft cocktails, a day in Grünerløkka is definitely going to be very exciting and very Instagrammable.
First things first: visit the Munch Museum before it relocates in 2018. Sure, it won’t go that far (it will move downtown, by the Opera) but as long as it remains a fixture of this vibrant neighbourhood, it should definitely be a part of a day in Løkka. There are more than 12,000 works by Norway’s most famous artists to gawk at and various interesting events, like Knausgård’s Literature Days. Afterwards, walk through the Oslo Botanical Gardens located across the street from the museum and admire the plants and the greenhouses.
A big day calls for a big breakfast or brunch to fuel up. The Nighthawk Diner opens at 7 am and is just the place to go for those looking to gorge on a breakfast burrito or buns, go crazy with pancakes with maple syrup, and don’t even think about leaving before slurping on one of their famous milkshakes. Don’t worry, there’s a lot of calorie-burning walking in the near future to counteract such a large meal.
Those who have even a single retro-loving bone in their bodies, Grünerløkka will always provide. Encounter a plethora of cute stores that specialise in vintage and retro clothing, accessories, deco, and furniture just by walking down and near Markveien.
Start at Velouria Vintage (the ideal place for shoppers looking for crazy sweaters and accessories from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s), then proceed to the green-hued paradise that is Frøken Dianas Salonger for floral wrap dresses and accessories with attitude. Indulge in pin-up fantasies at Manillusion before making one last stop at Retrolykke Kaffebar and sipping on some coffee while looking at everything from furniture, the collection of plates on the walls that are actually for sale, and a small selection of vintage clothes in the back.
Okay, that’s probably an exaggeration as no one can possibly eat and drink everything this food hall offers. However, check out all of the cheese, chocolates, sausages, meats, fish, and vegetables from small-scale producers as well as the many options in cafés and restaurants. Those who are lucky enough might even happen upon one of the hall’s many gastronomy events.
In case it’s not obvious enough by the amount of street art in the walls and the number of galleries per block, Grünerløkka is a haven for the artistically inclined individuals. Some of the best of them can be found in Blå and Parkteatret—probably two of Oslo’s coolest live performances venues. Start the afternoon in Blå, as it’s closer to the Mathallen, and then check the happenings in historical Parkteatret (first opened in 1907 as a cinema), maybe with a pre-dinner beer in hand.
It’s dinner time in Grünerløkka, and people will be quick to talk about the area’s many burger joints and steakhouses. Don’t listen to them. Succulent and homely as these options may be, try out a proper, Nordic dinner at the Michelin-starred Restaurant Kontrast. Sit back and enjoy one of their dishes made with seasonal produce from small farms or for those with a big group of friends dining, opt for one of their tasting menus.
Every perfect day should end with some barhopping. Since Oslo is not the cheapest city in the world, play it safe in some of Løkka’s staples: sample one of the eclectic brews in Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri or have a cocktail that hits just the right spot in mixology powerhouses Bar Boca and Nedre Løkka. Cheers to a day done right in Grünerløkka.